December 26 promises to be one of the most important days in the history of 1/ST Racing. It’s opening day of the Classic Meet at Santa Anita, opening day of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park and host date of the Christmastide Day stakes card at Laurel Park. All month, 1/ST BET will prepare you for a 26th of December to Remember with special content.
Nominations close today for the Dec. 26 stakes races at Gulfstream Park and Laurel Park. They’ll close tomorrow for the same day’s races at Santa Anita. But since entries for those races won’t be taken for another week or more, what is the purpose of nominations?
Stakes races are the only races in which the owners pay a fee in order for their horses to compete. It’s free to enter races like maiden, claiming and allowances, for instance. Stakes, well, you have to put up your stake. The nomination process allows owners a chance to stake their fee to race and then assess the competition to determine if they’re willing to pony up the additional fees required – most often a fee to enter and then again to start. For example, last year’s La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita cost $100 to nominate, then a $2,250 entry fee and $2,250 start fee.
The nomination, entry and start fees go into the purse of the race, which you’ll often see listed as “added” money. A stakes race that’s listed as “$100,000 added” means the track puts up $100,000 out of the purse account and all of the additional fees are added to the total purse. A $100,000 race might be worth $122,000 total with fees added, for example.
Though rare these days, early stakes nominations also allow the racing secretary at a track time to evaluate the possible contenders and declare the handicap weights each will carry. Most all stakes in today’s game are weighted under allowance conditions (horses of certain ages or accomplishment level will carry a determined weight).
When the nominations for the Dec. 26 races are released in the coming days, we’ll share them here and start to get a sense of who may be competing. Entries will be made and fields drawn Dec. 17 for Laurel, Dec. 18 for Gulfstream and Dec. 21 for Santa Anita.
The 26th of December to Remember Stakes Lineup
Gulfstream Park | Championship Meet | Opening Day
$100K Tropical Park Derby
$100K Tropical Park Oaks
Santa Anita | Classic Meet | Opening Day
$300K G1 Malibu
$300K G1 American Oaks
$300K G1 La Brea
$200K G2 Mathis Mile
$200K G2 San Antonio
$200K G2 San Gabriel
Laurel Park | Christmastide Day Stakes
$100K Dave’s Friend
$100K Gin Talking
$100K Robert Manfuso
$100K Willa On the Move